Not only does promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs bring with it a reputational boost for the winning club, it also guarantees a significant financial windfall too.
Deloitte’s sports business group expect either Huddersfield Town or Nottingham Forest to be £170m richer after the final whistle at Wembley and that total could rise to £300m if they emulate last season’s play-off winners Brentford by staying in the top-flight in their first next season.
The estimated increase in commercial and matchday revenues for the winners is £90m over a three-year period, largely due to the Premier League’s multi-billion pound broadcast deals.
The league renewed its £4.8bn domestic deal with Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon in May last year and has similarly lucrative arrangements overseas, including a £2bn deal spanning six years with NBC in the US.
In total, the Premier League’s broadcasting revenue both domestically and abroad will be worth more than £10bn over the next three seasons.
The remaining £80m is comprised of parachute payments which clubs are entitled to should they suffer relegation back to the Championship within a year.
Last season, both Norwich and Watford were relegated at the first attempt, while Fulham and West Brom went straight back down in 2020-21.
Tim Bridge, a director in the sports business group, said: “Wembley this weekend is host to the match with the most lucrative prize in world football.
“Following a fiercely contested season, the winner of Sunday’s Championship play-off final will walk off the pitch having secured additional future revenues of at least £170million.
“Promoted teams benefit from considerable financial gains which can deliver new player signings, stadium improvements and more.”
Having experienced promotion via the play-offs as recently as 2017, Huddersfield know all about the riches in store in the Premier League.
The Terriers’ annual turnover jumped from £15.8m to £125.2m in their first year in the division and after avoiding relegation in their first season they secured a third year of parachute payments, increasing the total from £80m to £90m.
Forest, meanwhile, have been situated outside of the top tier for 23 years since suffering relegation in the 1998-99 season.
Of course, an influx of cash offers no guarantee of short to medium-term success. Numerous clubs have spent considerably upon achieving promotion to try and stay there only to come up short.
Those who do invest heavily after receiving a spike in revenue, are often accused of “doing a Fulham” in reference to the Cottagers’ disastrous 2018 summer transfer window where over £100m was spent on a squad that finished 19th.
“Whilst a narrow majority of clubs promoted to the Premier League over the past decade survived their first season, half of the play-off final winners have not,” Bridge warns.
“Hence the winner of Sunday’s game will face the challenge of maintaining the excitement of fans, as well as balancing financial stability in the coming months.
“This Sunday’s game holds the key to re-entering the top-flight of English football, but the harder battle is to come: staying in it.”